Central Highlands Regional Council mayor and councillors.
Central Highlands Regional Council mayor and councillors.

Council publicly opposes CQ Health housing decision

CENTRAL Highlands Regional Council declared itself against the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service’s decision to stop providing subsidised housing to rural generalist health workers.

Mayor Kerry Hayes said he and other councillors “feel strongly enough about the issue to make our position known publicly”.

“The timing of this announcement in itself defies logic,” he said.

“Here we are in the midst of a global pandemic where doctors and health professionals are going above and beyond for their communities; working long hours; adapting to new ways of delivering their services; and without doubt trying to manage their own mental health and that of their staff.

“Having this ultimatum added, and in this fashion, does not sit well with our community.”

Mr Hayes wrote to the CQHHS regional director to make the council’s position known and to offer assistance.

“This move would appear to be counter-productive to any strategy to attract and keep health professionals in rural and regional areas,” he said.

“It’s absolutely critical to get enthusiastic and qualified people out here and to take away an important incentive is difficult to comprehend.

CQHHS chief executive Steve Williamson said last week that a review into CQ Health’s taxpayer-subsidised accommodation showed rural generalist doctors were getting more than elsewhere in Queensland.

“While incentives are important to attract medical officers to rural areas, we need to ensure

taxpayer funds are used properly and transparently,” he said.


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